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Topic: Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

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  1. #1

    Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

    I thought \'Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc\' might be an interesting topic for live piano performance and also for anyone whose solid keyboard skills contribute to the music they create.

    I\'ve been experimenting with an Audiophile 2496 soundcard and two different drivers on a Win98se machine and I was simply amazed by the difference going from 16ms to 11ms latency made for me in terms of sensitivity and responsiveness!

    I realize that more high end computers and sound cards and hard drives are capable of significantly less latency. My topic question refers specifically to this:

    when do we feel the difference, and when does latency become objectionable?

    michael88s

  2. #2

    Re: Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

    Everything under 2ms is amazing because is the same latency that you could get with hardware samplers.

    If you play really fast (130 or higher using 16 notes) you should need at least 2 ms. but if you play lower than 130 and you don\'t use 16 notes 4-6 will be enough.

  3. #3

    Re: Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

    enb141,

    Thanks for the reply. I agree that 2ms latency would be extraordinary. Generally I don\'t play all that fast, so I don\'t need 2ms, although it would be nice to have anyway.

    You mentioned hardware samplers getting 2ms, I\'m wondering what hardware synthesizers get, manufacturers never publish that data as far as I can see.

    The 11ms latency I\'m getting with my Audiophile 2496 doesn\'t bother me, but when I was getting 16ms it did.

    I suspect that\'s because I\'m primarily a piano player, used to playing acoustic pianos which, because they\'re mechanical actions, have latency built in. If I were playing drum samples I expect 11ms would drive me crazy.

    michael88s

  4. #4

    Re: Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

    Don\'t forget your keyboard also introduces latency/delay at the midi level, the time it takes before the midi event is sent out. And then you also have a delay in the midi driver. All this sums up to the total delay that sometimes can feel \"muddy\" or \"siruppy\" (we say \"stroperig\" in Dutch). Not all midi-interfaces are equal, so here is also room for improvements.

    Finally there is a latency in the sampler software as well, from the moment it receives an event from the midi driver (the OS) until it Windows starts playing back from the Wave buffer that Gst has passed to it.

    RME cards used with GigaStudio can be used at 3 msec latency. I think that will give a total delay of around 8-10 msec, from key down to the start of the sound. I have never measured this stuff, I\'m just guessing.

    In short, sound card latency is just part in a chain of short delays, albeit the one with the most impact.

    Take care,

  5. #5

    Re: Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

    The easiest way to decrease latency?

    Wear headphones.

    The speed of sound is 1135 ft per second. That\'s 1 ms for every 13.62 inches between your ears and the speakers.

  6. #6

    Re: Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

    Thanks Peter,

    I had no idea that there are so many factors that influence latency. It\'s making me rethink a number of things- including the length of all cabling.
    I was considering a KVM setup to move the computer to another room to cut down on noise, but considering what you\'ve told me that might not be a good idea.

    Jon, thanks for the suggestion regarding headphones, I guess that\'s why there\'s more \'immediacy\' to the sound when using phones, that and the absence of extraneous noise.

    Thanks both of you.

    michael88s

  7. #7

    Re: Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

    Hi Peter,

    Probably I shouldn\'t admit it, but yes I was serious. By your response I guess wire lengths are not a factor?

    Sorry for being without what\'s probably rudimentary knowledge for many. My background is acoustic piano, and before that Hammond organ and even before that pipe organ. I apprenticed to a pipe organ tuner/rebuilder for a while.

    I guess you could say that the physical mechanics of producing beautiful sound has fascinated me for many years and I have some understanding in that respect, but the electronic aspects I haven\'t assimilated as easily.

    Thanks once again for taking the time to help me out, my brain is not \'stroperig\' I don\'t think [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] .

    michael88s

  8. #8

    Re: Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

    Unless you\'re running hundreds of feet of cable, don\'t worry about the cable lengths. I seem to recall that it\'s about a nanosecond per foot (a distant voice remembers one ns per nine inches) for typical 75 ohm cable. In the days of analog video you had to match cable lengths (or adjust your sync generator) to get the various video sources to match up for clean cuts and mixes. Digital is so much easier and cheaper!

    Electrons move much faster down the wire than soundwaves move through air.

    Remember lightning? Flash... ... ... ... BOOM!

  9. #9

    Re: Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

    Originally posted by JonFairhurst:
    The easiest way to decrease latency?

    Wear headphones.

    The speed of sound is 1135 ft per second. That\'s 1 ms for every 13.62 inches between your ears and the speakers.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">[img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    And, stay away from orchestras, they\'re the worst of all when it comes to latencies!

    Uhm, Michael, I\'m not sure if you\'re serious about the cable lengths...

  10. #10

    Re: Acceptable latency for Giga live piano etc

    Well AKAI, Kurzweil, Korg all those hardware samplers have a very low latency but if you are looking for a soundcard with a very low latency probably you are looking for a creamware soundcard, with the STS-5000 sofware sampler you can get a very low latency (lower than 1 ms.) as they say in their website that\'s the best softsampler but you will need a lot or ram.

    Other good thing about the latency is your midi cable, I\'m using a cable plugged to a MIDI/Joystick port so that\'s not a good idea because it will increase the latency so instead you have to use an MIDI cable directly to a MIDI port non an MIDI/Joystick port as creative labs cards.

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